A mental health disorder and professional success don\u2019t have to be mutually exclusive, especially when recovery is built on a firm foundation of mental health treatment. The stigma around mental health disorders contradicts this idea of being successful at work and having a mental health disorder. How is it possible to manage something like bipolar disorder and a thriving career?\u00a0 It is possible. There are challenges to tackle, but the key to achieving this balance rests with self-awareness, a strong support system and plenty of self-care. Treating yourself with kindness is also a big help. Lucida has simple suggestions for anyone trying to reach both career and mental health goals. Be mindful about your career Sarah was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago. In that time, she\u2019s managed to carve out a successful career as a website designer. Because Sarah knew of her condition in her early 20s after a diagnosis at an inpatient mental health treatment center, she was careful to consider careers. In the end, she settled on a job working in website design because the career path offered her some independence and the possibility for freelance work down the road. After college, Sarah went to work for a graphic design agency. At the time, Sarah was still sorting out how to manage her condition with therapy and medication.\u00a0 She was aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and approached the agency\u2019s human resources manager about accommodations. Her therapist acted as an advocate through these negotiations. Sarah knew, thanks to her therapist, the laws around her diagnosis and privacy. The agency agreed to a schedule with flexibility around a part-time home office. On rough days, Sarah could work from home.\u00a0 Health.com offers suggestions on broaching the subject of mental health disorders at work in the article \u201cHow to Talk About Your Mental Illness at Work,\u201d published in 2019. Build strong support The flex schedule made it possible for Sarah to work full-time while still dealing with mania and depression episodes. For the situation to work well, however, Sarah built a lot of support into her life. Her routine included individual therapy weekly, group therapy, a regular exercise routine and a group of friends who understood bipolar disorder and provided support when needed. During the five years Sarah worked for the graphics agency, she became much more self-aware. When she felt an episode of depression coming on, she learned to increase her self-care routine and adjust her expectations about the amount of work she handled. She learned how to ease back on her workload during difficult times and increase her pace when she felt well. As Sarah\u2019s condition stabilized, she decided to marry and become a mom. A full-time position at the graphics agency was still possible. Still, it would require a big emotional investment for Sarah to manage her bipolar disorder, a full-time job and motherhood. She decided to freelance as a web designer and continue to work part-time for the agency from her home. In this way, she was able to give herself some extra flexibility. She also stuck to her previous therapy routine and exercise regime. For more information, read the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Women\u2019s Health article, \u201cWorking with a Mental Health Condition,\u201d published online. What if your diagnosis comes later?\u00a0 Sarah\u2019s early diagnosis at a mental health treatment center made career decisions and management of her mental health disorder much easier. If you aren\u2019t 20 and already have a career in place, the prospect of work success may feel overwhelming. Reframe it. Explore your options with help from people who understand mental health disorders. If your job isn\u2019t a good match for managing your mental health disorder, start small. First things first, get yourself healthy. Inpatient mental health treatment or some other in-depth mental health therapy offering tools for better management may be in order. Seek out mental health professionals who can offer emotional support. Once you are feeling better, that\u2019s the time to take a closer look at your career.\u00a0 Today\u2019s work environment offers more flexibility than ever before. It may take some time to sort out the best balance of healthy living, work and family, but it\u2019s possible. And, it\u2019s worth it. You are worth it. In the article, the National Alliance on Mental Illness breaks down the many resources available for those with a mental health disorder who need to work. Having a mental health disorder doesn\u2019t mean you can\u2019t have a fulfilling career. Treatment at Lucida can give you the hope and confidence you need to advocate for yourself in the workplace. Call us at 866.947.7299.